Family of Fayetteville domestic violence victim: 'Who was right, wrong doesn't matter'
Posted December 9, 2016
Updated December 16, 2016
Fayetteville, N.C. — The family of a Fayetteville woman who was stabbed to death by her boyfriend Wednesday night said Friday that they don't blame him for the attack, and they hope police video of the crime scene, including officers fatally shooting the boyfriend, is never released.
Amanda Williams was killed in her Bedrock Drive home by Mark Hicks, whom police found standing over her body with a knife when they responded to a 911 call from her two sons. Officers shot Hicks when he refused to drop the knife and then lunged at them with it as they tried to take him into custody, police said.
"We are all struggling to try to come to terms with it," said Williams' aunt, Lawanda Barnwell. "Mandy did not deserve to go the way she went."
Hicks' grandmother, Louise Hicks, said Thursday that he likely acted in self-defense, calling Williams a violent person who would "pull a knife on a person in a minute." The couple had been dating for a couple of months.
Williams suffered from mental health problems for years, Barnwell said, adding that no one should point fingers in how Williams and Hicks died.
"I believe he cared about Mandy, and things got kind of out of hand when he could have walked away. I am not going to excuse him, nor are we trying to excuse her," Barnwell said. "Who was right, who was wrong doesn’t matter anymore. We lost two young souls."
Mark Hicks apologized for killing Williams in a 911 call, and Barnwell said the family takes him at his word.
"I just killed somebody," he told a dispatcher. "She’s gone. I’m sorry. I killed her."
"We heard him say he’s killed somebody and he’s sorry, and he meant it," she said. "You could feel it. So, we are sorry that he’s gone."
Williams' family is now focused on caring for her children, a 4-year-old daughter and the two sons, ages 11 and 10, who ran for help as their mother was being attacked.
Toward that end, relatives said they don't want video captured on police body cameras to be released.
Fayetteville Interim Police Chief Anthony Kelly has described the footage as "graphic." He said the two families would have the opportunity to review the video.
"Our family does not want those videos released for any reason," said Williams' cousin, Jamey Marina. "It is traumatic enough hearing the tapes, seeing the news reports every day."
Marina and Barnwell said they want to shield the children from ever having to see video of how their mother died.
"These three children have to watch this over and over again, and we don’t want that done," Marina said.
"I think the only defense we have right now is for them not to release that footage," Barnwell said. "That’s going to be very damaging to everyone in my family and more so to her children."
Under a state law that took effect in October, police body camera and dashboard camera video isn't considered a public record. People shown in any video or their representatives can review it, but a court order is required to disclose it to anyone else or release it publicly.
The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident, which is standard procedure for an officer-involved shooting. Five Fayetteville police officers were at the scene, but Kelly hasn't said how many shots were fired or how many officers fired a weapon.